Hello! Happy Holidays!!!
It is the holiday season, and for many people that means many things. It is a time for food, treats, family gatherings, and for some people… a creepy little dude that is moved around nightly to keep an eye on children for Santa. Look… I have nothing against the Elf, and for the many people who invite him/her into their home to keep an eye on their kids for the Big Guy, kudos to you for coming up with new and inventive ways to engage the little stalker. In real estate though, we have our own version of the little guy, and it isn’t Roz from Monsters Inc. either….
Do you remember that phrase, ‘Big Brother is Watching’? Well, nowhere is this more true than in real estate. We live in the age of Alexa. Our homes are wired with Xfinity, and Ring cameras, and Alexa, (that chick is always listening).
It ‘used’ to be that when I would show a home to a buyer client, we would talk about the home and the pros/cons while walking around. We would even *gasp* sit down at a kitchen table to write up an offer. Of course… that was ‘then’.
When I am showing homes now, in 2022, I always remind my buyer clients to wait to talk about the pros/cons of a home, or about their financial situation, or about any offer they might want to make until after we are out of the house… in fact, until we are far away from the front door even. Why? You guessed it… in our day, and age, there is a very good chance that someone is watching, or listening to you.
When I am talking with a seller client about listing their home, I like to take a little extra time on page 4, section 18 of the listing contract. In this particular case, line (d) Seller acknowledges that is a violation of RCW 9.73.030 to intercept or record conversations of persons in the property without first obtaining their consent.
What does this mean? Seems pretty clear, right? …and wrong…
The seller cannot record conversations, or people, in their home….got it! But what about intercepting? This is where it gets a little more complicated.
Recently, I had an amazing listing that I knew was going to be very desirable, and it was. My client has cameras all around, and in his home. On the listing, I stated that, ‘cameras are on’. This is/was notice to the buyers Realtors, and to their buyers that there are cameras in/around the home, and that they are active. By entering the home, with that knowledge, consent is given. Quite a few of my listings have cameras, or Rings, or xifinity, or whatever, and for these ones I always put in the agent remarks that “cameras are on”.
My friends, a few things that you need to know is that from the moment that your Realtor opens the door for a showing, WE are responsible for you. We are responsible for anything, & everything that happens during the showing. This isn’t HGTV, and Washington has strict laws about this. As a group, we stay together during the showing, and yes, your Realtor leads the showing. No Realtor should sit down at a kitchen table while the buyers roam a home unaccompanied.
When a Realtor accesses the lockbox for the key to enter the home, a message (either text, or email, or both) is sent to the sellers Realtor letting them know that so&so from xoxo realty accessed the listing at this time. When the showing is done, and the key is put back, another message is sent to the sellers Realtor letting them know that so&so has concluded their showing. Then the next Realtor would access the lockbox, and the messages repeat. I know it takes a moment, but your Realtor needs a sec to put the key back in the lockbox for the next Realtor to access. The lockbox is there to safeguard the key to someone’s home. The lockbox is also there to safeguard entry to the home to licensed Realtors.
In all of these cases, the seller knows & hears what you are saying about the home. They hear about the offer you want to make. They hear about your personal information, or financial situation. There are a lot of other things that they hear, or see, but that is a different email!
Our world is crazy, and many more people all the time are connecting their home, and outside areas to cameras. Just assume that you are being watched & listened to.
As a buyer, you need to BE AWARE!
* You need to ask your Realtor if there were any special remarks or comments in the listing. Sometimes there is information in there that you might want to know.
* Pick up a flyer if there is one there. Sometimes there is information on the flyer that is helpful to you, as the buyer. For example, on one flyer I had information on work that my seller client had done to the home, and when it was done. On that particular home I had no less than 4 Realtors ask me about the roof….that information was on the flyer … in the flyer box, and on the counter.
* Stay with your Realtor! Please, I know it is difficult because often you are on a timeline for showings, but stay with him/her while they show you the home. That Realtor is responsible for you during your time in the sellers home. I know I talked about it above, but it bears repeating.
* If the seller is asking for your shoes to be off during the showings, please take them off, or wear the booties that are often provided. One of the things I always tell my buyer clients is to where easy on/off shoes for showings. I know those boots are super cute, but they are a pain to get on & off.
* Appointments… Appointments are often required for showings….yes, even for vacant homes. Many times it is 24 hour notice appointments. We know you are excited to see homes, but there is nothing worse than showing up to see a home and having 3-6 Realtors there with their clients to see the same home and they are all just waiting in a cluster. This is why we set appointments, so that everyone has a designated time to see the home. Of course, this means that your Realtor has to keep you on task as to time. This can be difficult because when you see a home you really like, you want to spend more time in the home. When you don’t really like the home, you are in/out lightening flash. It’s often like herding cats really. I usually schedule 30 minutes for showings because 15 minutes is crazy, and we need to calculate drive time between the showings. When a Realtor, and their clients, go over their time into someone else’s, it throws everyone’s schedules off.
* Ask questions. Sometimes it is something that your Realtor knows, and sometimes it is something that needs to be asked of the sellers through their Realtor, and this is ok! Most Realtors try to cover all the possible questions that could come up, but maybe it isn’t something we thought about. It is ok to ask questions!
* It is ok to open cupboards, or pantry doors. It is ok to look at storage. It is ok to look at the stove/oven, or the dishwasher, or built in microwave. It is never ok to open someone’s private dressers, or armoires. Rule of thumb…if it doesn’t stay with the home, don’t open it.
* If you feel the need to talk about the home, only say positive things. It goes without saying, but please do NOT comment negatively on the price of the home, the decorating, the personal effects in the home, the colors, the pictures, or the opinions (whatever they may be) that are reflected in the home by the current homeowners.
* Again…Never talk about your financial situation, or personal situation, or offer strategy, in someone’s home where they may be listening, and they very well could be.
As always, “may the odds ever be in your favor” I am here for any questions, and always available to help you with your next Home Adventure… Whether you are buying, or selling… I got you Boo! I appreciate you, and your referrals more than words can express. Thank you!